GEN0013_FC_Metalist-NUFCThe draw for the last 32 of the Europa League has been made and NUFC have been handed a draw against Ukrainian side Metalist Kharkiv.

Considering who Newcastle could have faced, the level of difficulties the other British sides face in their next couple of rounds in Europe,  and the fact our group winners Bordeaux have drawn Ukrainian opposition anyway and then have to get past Benfica potentially – this draw has been very favourable to us. Apart from the obvious huge travelling arrangements needed to go and watch from a fan’s point of view, from a purely footballing perspective, nobody associated with NUFC should be complaining.

However, speaking of travelling to go and see the match in the east of Ukraine potentially brings up a nasty subject in football. Racism. If you watched the BBC Panorama programme before Euro 2012 got under way, you will have seen one of their reporters travelled to Ukraine for one part of the programme to show a football match between two local rivals. What happened in this match was that a section of home fans were targeted, beating and kicked out of the stands by other home fans. For reasons of which that can only be explained because of the colour of their skin.

Newcastle fans will be travelling to this stadium on the 21st of February to watch their team hopefully go through to the next round of the Europa League. So what should they be expecting once they do so?

Racism towards our black players from the stands? Racism against themselves if they are anything other than white? Who knows. The threat of racism on both counts, or even violence, cannot be ignored as it is clear the country of Ukraine has a serious problem with it and that very football club, in that very stadium, cannot deny it doesn’t go on.

I am sure the subject will come up countless times from now until we play them at their stadium on 21st February. As for now, let’s just look at the draw from a purely footballing point of view and it isn’t that bad.

With the next round to be competed against either Anzhi or Hannover, I will take that over what our group winners Bordeaux’ next opponents will be, in the shape of either Benfica or Leverkusen.

The fans who could find themselves in Russia not long after coming back from a trip to Ukraine may not agree with me.

One thing is for sure, you will never see a mackem at Metalist.

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15 comments
alreet
alreet 5pts

It was a split second late. I dont see it as a red and ice been honest this season and said that the janmaat SO against swans was silly but just.

Supposed to be a contact sport and yeah he caught his shin but its not like his boots were higher than his own ankle. If it had been a simulated stamp theen fair dos but it was literally the ball is in the air now it bounced and the midfielder was on it in a blink. Yellow and a harsh warning for me. Game on!

howaymebonnylads
howaymebonnylads 5pts

Come on Alan man, everyone mistimes a tackle or two.  What you should be saying is it was clumsy and a yellow at best.  It's not like he raked him right down the shin.  These challenges are why shin pads are worn because it happens.  Shearer should be questioning why officials have it in for Mitrovic before the games even kicked off to put some uncertainty in their mind and sticking up for his own!!!

Wayne Clayton
Wayne Clayton 5pts

It's because we are who we are and they are who they are.

No complaints within the letter of the law with the sending off but the application of the same law that was applied to Arsenal was inconsistent.

Spider66
Spider66 5pts

As soon as I saw who the referee was I knew we were on to a hiding for nowt not from arsenal but the ref I honestly thought we were capable of beating the arsenal until I saw the refs name

TonnekToon
TonnekToon 5pts

What is it with the footballing gods and Newcastle ? The ref was a bit too card "happy" today , and  as its been said, he set the tone on 3 minutes  with Sissoko and his yellow . I think all our bookings and the sending off weren't malicious , just clumsy , though Mitrovic's  sending off was coming at some point early this season , it was just a matter of time. Hope he learns from it . On the positive side , we seemed solid enough once again after a lot of sustained pressure at times , their winning goal a lucky deflected OG . They didn't let their heads drop , which was a good sign and if they can stay as solid in future games we should be ok .

John Rush
John Rush 5pts

Wonder if al would have thought the same if it happened to the "united" centre forward rather than mitrovic

1957
1957 5pts

Or when Al kicked the Leicester player in the head and should have been suspended, accidental I think he claimed at the time.

Spider66
Spider66 5pts

Al would have said that was proper football then. It has got to cissyfied now Rodney Marsh was spot on what he said about it being a no contact sport before long.

AndrewCowley1
AndrewCowley1 5pts

Wasn't a red,the ref obviously had it in his mind about mitrovic before the game began.ruined the game absolute joke

John Rush
John Rush 5pts

Agree he pulled him up in the first minute for an aerial challenge for which you would rightly be laughed at if you appealed for a foul on a sunday morning

1957
1957 5pts

My issue with the referee wouldn't be over the sending off, more his approach to yellow cards. NUFC 15 fouls, 6 cards, Arsenal 8 fouls, 1 card. Similar fouls didn't get equal treatment, Anita tugs someone back, yellow, Thauvin is blocked and pushed off the ball no card.

John Rush
John Rush 5pts

And tell me why is gio booked for waving an imaginary card but its ok for sanchez and giroud to demand one verbally

howaymebonnylads
howaymebonnylads 5pts

@John Rush exactly mate, every time they're rolling around demanding a card why did the ref not give one to them...spineless

The Adelphi
The Adelphi 5pts

I agree with Rodney Marsh for once. They may as well make football a non contact sport if that's a straight red